A Good Read A Good Listen and a Good Drink: El Xicano

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It’s a simple yet sublime pleasure, and just thinking about it can make you feel a little calmer, a little more content. Imagine: You bring out one of the good rocks glasses (or your favorite mug or a special occasion tea cup) and pour a couple fingers of amber liquid (or something dark and strong or just some whole milk). You drop the needle on the jazz platter (or pull up a blues album on your mp3 player or dig out that mixtape from college). Ensconcing yourself in the coziest seat in the house, you crack the spine on a classic (or find your place in that sci-fi paperback or pull up a biography on your e-book reader). And then, you go away for a while. Ah, bliss. In this series, some of NTSIB’s friends share beloved albums, books and drinks to recommend or inspire. And now, a very special holiday/Friday/holiday Friday treat: a new song from my favorite international man of mystery El Xicano. This one is called I Mostri (Monsters), and it’s a little bit more mellow than La Grande Pauro, but no less lovely. The rest of the EP will surface next year, but in the mean … Continue reading

Late Night Listening: Industrial Love, Casper Cult

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Industrial Love from Domesticated by Casper Cult is, I think, the aural equivalent of sitting inside a Zen rock garden with a rain-noises machine and a warm fuzzy sweater. Some part of me thinks something called “Industrial Love” should be louder, clangier, with more screech and holler, but a larger part thinks no, this perfect, this is sitting in an empty warehouse and communing with the silence and the stillness of machines not in use.

Late Night Listening: Eyreton Hall, Featherstitch

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. Featherstitch is the first single and title track from Featherstitch by Eyreton Hall (Toni Randle and Andrew Keegan) of Auckland, New Zealand. It’s sweet, lovely and lovingly-crafted folk music, spare and delicate and sad and beautiful. I may or may not have listened to it three times in a row after the first time I heard it. And three more times while putting this post together. It’s kind of seductive, this tune. You can listen to the rest of the record (and, you know, buy it) at their bandcamp.

Two Songs From: Johanna Glaza

Photo by Agne Monti

The first polar vortex of the season arrived in New York yesterday, bringing with it icy temperatures and blustery winds. Like it or not, winter is here. And in the spirit of all things frosty and beautiful, here are two songs from Johanna Glaza: Paper Widow and Winter Song, due out at the end of November, which embody, in sound, all of the best parts of the season: windows full of delicate frost fronds, the smell of fresh pine, the crunch of new snow.

Dead Professional, Hard Hard Hard

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Hard Hard Hard, by Dead Professional (John Harouff) is the sort of record that sneaks up on you. A bass line gets lodged in your head one day; you find yourself humming along with a melody the next; the day after that a particular lyric strikes home. For example, I was just briefly arrested by I can be your baby / or I can play the sitter from I Can Deliver, which has both sharp edges and Replacements-style catchy grooves: Another one I’m fond of is Bad Memory, because it’s a love song, if love songs were written by sharks:

Late Night Listening: Mt. Wolf, Red

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A home for things that might be fleeting, might be soothing, might be weird, might be soothing and weird. The blogging equivalent of sitting in the garage twiddling radio knobs just to see what might be out there. After an extended hiatus, Mt. Wolf, from London, England via Guernsey, Dorset, and Brighton, have decided to be a band again, and come back with Red, which is something of a haunted lullaby. It is but a taste of what will come in the new year.

Three Songs From: Vinnie Ferra

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One of the many joys of Soundcloud is that you can press play on one song and then, left unchecked, it will play affiliated tunes. Sometimes that’s more work by the same artists, other times it’s other artists on the same label, other times it seems kind of random. My Vinnie Ferra Voyage of Discovery was the first kind of situation: I listened to his current single, called God Forbid, and then it gave me his previous work. This is God Forbid, which . . . I am going to be blunt, I’m not super excited about. It showcases his range, and objectively speaking it’s pretty, but it didn’t grab me and make me want to listen to it again. On the other hand, Destroying Me, which popped up next: yeah this I’m into, because I’m always here for songs on the theme of “I love you and it is going to drive me around the twist” especially when I can sing along: The third song I listened to was Bad For Business, from Man vs. Machine (2010), and at that point, I was in. This is good stuff.